Monday, March 31, 2008

Something New

So I tried something new this weekend. Having 2 weeks of beard growth I decided to try a straight razor shave at a local barber. I've seen it on tv/movies several times and the idea is pretty romantic. I made my appointment for 11am on Saturday. After getting the ok from the barber, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and walk Finster to the barber shop. When Finster and I got there no one was in the shop so we went in and I put Finster in the back room so he wouldn't be in the way.

Then I sat down and got the nice how towel on my face. The barber took one look at my beard and asked (hoped) that I was a goatee wearer, I'm not. Then he said it was too long and he would have to trim it first with electric clippers. After the trimming he got to work on the beard. After an hour of hacking away at the beard I was fairly clean shaven. He missed a few long hairs around my lips (I always miss those too) and it really wasn't as close of a shave as say a Mach 28 (the ones with 84 razors). In the more difficult areas (coincidentally, the goatee hair) the straight razor pulled on my whiskers. When he was done he dashed some aftershave (which was full of alcohol) on my face, which burned for about 10 seconds, I paid him the $15 (plus tip) and walked out disenfranchised by the whole experience. In the end, I will never do it again. It took too long, and the results weren't great.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Paper Texture Layers

Here is my first attempt at a paper texture. This is simply a technique to antique your photos. I used a paper texture from this site and added it as a layer in PS. I'm still torn on which I like better, both look nice I think (2nd photo is paper textured). I have a few more that I've done that I'll be posting eventually.
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Monday, March 24, 2008 review


For Christmas 2007 I got a gift card for $50. Excited to try out the new service, I selected 124, of my 1000+ Fujichrome Velvia 50 slides. I figured I would start out small seeing that this service ships your original slides to India for scanning. I created my account on December 28th and mailed in my slides with the shipping label that I printed from their website. To get the ball rolling I had to pay 50% of the cost up front before they processed my order. Total estimated cost was $29.76, after 15% off for a code I found online the total was $25.30. I paid this with my gift card. Unfortunately, you can't pay for shipping with your gift card, so I paid the $7.83 for shipping this 1lbs. package. I received order confirmation on 12/28/07 and my credit card was charged. When I entered the order it was estimated that the slides would be scanned and online for review in three weeks. The order was actually online for review on 2/21/08; about a month late.


When I first got the email I tried looking at my pictures online, and could not be reached. I tried again a few hours later and everything worked fine. Once your order is online you have to select the scans that you'd like to keep. With scancafe you can reject up to 50% of your order, and they will delete them and you don't have to pay for them. I chose to keep all my scans. This is where it got interesting. After selecting all of my scans I came to the payment screen. I tried to enter my gift card to pay for the remainder of my order and it completely didn't work in Firefox 2.0. I switch to IE7 and things worked much better. Unfortunately, the balance on my gift card was wrong. I called support, which was actually very responsive and helpful. They said that they just started processing gift cards and their website doesn't handle them very well, and to try again tomorrow. I tried again in two days and it still wasn't working, so I called support back. Support said to try again in a few more days. After about a week I was finally able to pay with my gift card. I complained to support about the fact that they were about a month later than their estimate and she said that they received more orders for Christmas than they anticipated.

The Final Product

On 3/17/08 I got an email from scancafe stating that they were shipping my slides back with my dvd. On 3/24/08 I finally received my original slides and a dvd containing my 124 jpeg scans. Each scan is about 2mb large (I didn't get the TIFF upgrade). I have to say that I am not happy with the scan quality. The scans seem very fuzzy, several of them aren't level, and the colors are very washed out. I am very dissatisfied with their website. In writing this I'm trying to figure out how much I spent total on 124 scans but I can't find on their website any billing in my account. I also can't find a place to figure out my gift card balance.


I think this service will be very nice in the future, but it seems far too immature at this point. They have a lot of things to work on with regards to the quality of scans, and their website. I'd give them another year before seriously considering working with them again.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Light pollution comes in handy occasionally. This shot is from the field behind my house, taken at night with "natural" lighting. The colors weren't modified in photoshop, these are the colors I got straight from the camera.
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